In that moment, I felt undeniable serenity within her presence. The female’s striking carob irises connected with mine. Locks of shimmering gold hair ornamented her heart shaped face. She was everything I had longed for. I, unquestionably, was intensely in love with her. Still, I yearned to unearth the exact words to express what remained concealed within.The majestic woman sent me a charming smile, confirming her fondness for me. I returned her sentiment as my olive complexion grew stained with a tear. Unfortunately, she was not real, nor ever could be. She was part of a delusion I experienced nightly; fabricated by my imagination. As always, my awakening came again, inducing another dose of reality.
I inhaled a waft of the cool oxygen surrounding me and opened my eyes. I was encased by a dismal place. Above me hung a dilapidated light fixture that dreadfully encouraged my participation in the waking hours. Its blinding rays assisted the acetylcholine in my system; permanently dissolving my drowsiness.
A moan rolled out of my lips as I hoisted my body into a
sitting position. My lap was entangled within messy bedding on top of my ridged passenger cot. The room surrounding me was my personal hideaway. Its rough appearance had been scarred into my memory long ago. Through-out my occupation, I had managed to paint the rusted iron walls with various images of my liking.
My collection consisted of mostly star maps or prints depicting faraway places from a time before my existence. I took particular interest in ancient Asteauian lithographs granting a portal into their unusual customs and lost culture from centuries ago. Some of my faded star maps even bore Asteau’s ancient title, Earth.
My youthful features were now observable as I shifted into the iridescent lighting. I guess I could be perceived as attractive, or downright ratty? After-all, I never had a girlfriend and well, my rough nature wasn’t strictly an exterior trait.
I sighed and directed my attention to an oxidized side table containing my most familiar belongings. Concealing its blemished surface was an assortment of ‘one millimeter’ syringes and multiple vials filled with a murky substance. I proceeded to seize a single syringe and a partially drained glass vial. Before commencing my routine session; I firmly wrapped my left bicep with a tattered belt in order to flare the vein beneath my skin. In my opposite hand I prepared my daily dosage, as previously instructed by my life-long associate, Jester Akray.
Though its purpose remained a mystery; I continued to draw
half a millimeter of the unknown, but prescribed, substance. Now possessing the proper amount, I plunged the needle through my collection of ‘track marks’ and introduced the prescription into a vein. I could detect its presence within my system immediately. My arms tingled briefly as it was rapidly distributed throughout my sixteen year-old body. Thankfully, the disturbing sensation began to fade as quickly as it arrived, inspiring me to switch my attention to my next mundane task. I promptly detached the belt from my arm and returned my supplies to their former location.
My hands gripped the tan blanket enveloping my waist and tossed it aside: exposing a sight that could be perceived as disturbing. My upper thighs existed without the extension of legs beneath the stubs of my knees. I cannot describe how or why I ended up with such a devastating disability… but there was something purely unnatural about it.
Though absent, I could sometimes detect a phantom presence. I frequently felt the grit and coolness of sand beneath my toes, or plush grass, as if I could recall their texture from a memory? Yet, Jester insisted my disability was present the day I was born?
When I was eight years old, Jester commissioned the fabrication of prosthetics to be used with a pair of forearm crutches. Their creation greatly eased the inconvenience of my disability. I since mastered their usage and grew accustomed to my independence. I proceeded to snatch a large canvas sack that was positioned aside my bed and zipped it open.
Stashed inside were anatomically correct prosthetics fashioned from brass by our ship mechanic, Shadow. I extended my fingers within the gaping bag and clutched the upper cuffing of my left prosthetic. I hoisted the artificial limb from its casing and slid it over the fabric slip that protected my skin from bruising. I continued the next step and secured the cuffing within a series of belts strapped over my undershorts. I promptly commenced an identical procedure in order to attach my right leg, and then covered myself with a pair of hefty cargo style trousers.
An outdated medical wheelchair occupied the space beside the rundown side table with my crutches situated inside its fabric seat. I extended my brass feet to the iron floor and rocked my weight upon them. Their clacking filled the still air as I sauntered to my crutches and swiftly slithered my forearms into their cuffing.
The eerie lighting of my private chamber trickled across my ratty features as I completed my preparation to join the rest of the crew. I sported a snug ash tank-top. Its design properly exposed the prominent features of my muscular chest and rigid collar. A crop of golden hair enveloped my skull and hung past my shoulders. It was well maintained and slightly tangled from a session of wild overnight tossing. I then, navigated to my chamber door and opened it with a firm pull. The metal hinges expelled a tired groan upon their disturbance.
Exterior of my private chamber was the complex interior of a decommissioned QSR-99 Bellona battle cruiser originating from the empire of Jafril. Within my presence was a depressed, narrow, corridor fitted with overhead, multi gauge cabling strictly assembled for Jafril crew members.
I climbed into the cramped passageway and began my customary stroll midst its complex construction. This individual hall existed previously as a service wing that functioned as a vein for internal repairs. Somehow, I had grown accustomed to its isolated location deep within the hull of the cruiser.
I modestly desired to live in seclusion, though there were two other bodies that also inhabited the ship. I guess these people could be considered as my mock family? After all, they were the only physical company I had; considering I never knew my real family or parents. Jester usually accompanied me, who I grew close to since our introduction eight years ago; was like a father to me.
Shadow was the second and most unusual character onboard. Unusual from what I knew… anyway. He was our maintenance mechanic and native to the planet of Nievia; which was the pinnacle of the Jafril Empire, whom with our allies engaged in a merciless war.
Although Shadow was our ally, the Jafrilian people were our
most lethal opponents. Their unfortunate existence was rooted with the forbidden knowledge of the universe’s initial inhabitants and brightest inventors: the Anunnaki.
Tapped into the unknown, the Jafril rapidly evolved beyond the limitation of a biological frame. They were a race of androids amongst the organic natives of Nievia, superior in every way. Shadow once was a Jafrilian representative; which would explain his superior mechanical knowledge and strange bond with our ship, Bellona.
Bellona was a marvel of Jafril engineering, as her name signified; she was once a goddess of war. Over twenty years ago, her seventeen decks teemed with soldiers and her belly swelled with advanced weaponry. Since then, age had become of the retired warrior. She spent her elder years decommissioned, serving as the more than luxurious vessel for our ‘crew.’